This was my 2nd year designing a dress for the Red Dress MN event. I don't usually do custom designs but it's for a great cause (raising awareness and money for women's heart health) and I love the women I've been paired with as my models. Last year it was Natalie Nyhus of WCCO, and this year I had the pleasure of designing for Alison Kaplan, the fashion editor for Mpls. St Paul Magazine and co-host of the weekly radio show Shop Talk.
It's nerve racking designing a custom anything for anyone, much less a fashion editor. The Red Dress MN event is very well organized, and while we had months to sketch, pattern, fit, tweak, and come up with our final design, I knew I wouldn't get it done until the last possible minute. Because that's just how it is.
In December I met with Ali and showed her several options and we settled on one. The weekend before the dress was due, I kept seeing a different dress for Ali in my head. But I knew I didn't have time to do it., so I tried to just put it out of my mind.
When Monday morning rolled around Emma cut the fit sample for the original dress. But I just kept seeing Ali in my head in this other dress...so, at about 1 pm (Ali was coming at 3) I said to Emma, "I think we can do this" and I sat down and started making a totally new pattern.
The original design looked very nice on Ali, and she was polite and said she liked it. But when I showed her the then half-finished fit sample of the new dress...she was pretty excited.
We just went ahead and made finals of both dresses and on Wednesday, 2 days later, she tried both on.
The first one looked great.
But when Ali put on the 2nd dress, you could just see her light up. I think she wasn't just being polite. I think she felt amazing and she certainly looked it. It's really important to me that if I'm designing a dress for someone, not only do I want them to look gorgeous in it, I want them to feel like it's THEIR dress. And you can tell that the moment they put it on.
I turned in the final dress and sketch (the Red Dress people frame the sketches as a gift for each model from their designer) 2 days past deadline, one day before the event.
Emma took my place that evening because unfortunately, my former assistant's wedding was at the same time.
Which was magical and lovely, but that's a different heart story.
Here's to heart health in all its forms.